The hour-long presentation gave us mushroom-enhanced insight into the new video game console, finally revealing the official Nintendo Switch price, release date and launch games.
The overnight press conference took place in Tokyo, Japan (around 1 p.m. their time), so there’s a good chance you missed the big announcements – and all of the ‘Switch’ puns. Trust us, there were a lot.
In addition to our ongoing Nintendo Switch review, we've broken everything down, giving you the key facts, minus all of the puns... well, almost all of them.
1. Nintendo Switch release date
The official Nintendo Switch launch date is Friday, March 3, 2017, the company announced at its press conference in Tokyo today (technically, already tomorrow there).
What’s great is that this is the worldwide release date, so it’ll be a global launch starting with Nintendo’s home of Japan, then Hong Kong, a vast majority of Europe and the US and Canada.
Also, the fact that the Nintendo Switch release date is a Friday means that you can take the entire weekend to play through your stack of launch games. No need to fake being ‘sick’ to escape work or school.
2. Nintendo Switch pre-order date
Nintendo didn’t reveal a worldwide Switch pre-order date, but it did say that gamers in Japan will be able to reserve the console starting on January 21.
It works a bit differently everywhere else, as US and UK stores are already taking pre-orders for the new console. Some have sold out of certain configurations!
In the US, is finally selling a Nintendo consoles directly (it skipped out on selling the Wii U by relying on outside, third-party retailers). still has bundles in stock, and so does and . But dates are slipping beyond March 3.
3. Switch, Switch, Switch modes
As the Nintendo Switch name suggests, the most interesting feature is the various ways of play. The company detailed all the three modes at its press conference:
TV Mode is the standard Nintendo affair we’ve known since the 1980s. Plug your Switch into a dock and the action outputs onto a big-screen television. You play with Joy-Con controllers that are attached to a Joy-Con grip.
Tabletop Mode takes the console away from the dock and TV and allows you to keep playing in a tablet-like form. It even provides a handy kickstand and breaks the Joy-Con controller into two segments.
Handheld Mode attaches the right and left Joy-Con controller to the system in a mode that most resembles the current Nintendo Wii U configuration.
4. It comes with two controllers... kind of
Nintendo claimed that the Switch system comes with two controllers, and that’s sort-of true. The Joy-Con controllers break up into nearly identical right and left controllers, as if they’re two mini gamepads.
Calling this ‘Sharing the joy’ (groan), Nintendo lets these individual controller segments be used in landscape mode. It reminds us of using a Nintendo Wii remote sideways to play Mario Kart. With a Joy-Con strap that slides onto the rails of these broken-up controllers, you can secure the controllers to your wrists and take advantage of additional R and L shoulder buttons.
It’s the opposite of the Nintendo Switch Pro controller (sold separately) that you really want for intense multiplayer. But if everyone has the same mini gamepad, it’s still fair and ideal for on-the-go gaming.
5. Nintendo Switch battery life and charging
Nintendo Switch is part home console and part mobile handheld, so battery life matters when you’re gaming in the latter mode.
How long will the Switch battery last? It’ll vary depending on the intensity of the game you’re playing, with Nintendo claiming it’ll last anywhere from 2.5 hours to 6.5 hours per charge.
Charging Nintendo Switch is done via the new USB-C standard, and that’s fantastic news. Nintendo is moving away from proprietary charging cables, and it’ll even let you charge and play at the same time. Bonus points.
6. Joy-Con HD Rumble and infrared camera features
Joy-Con controllers are filled with all sorts of motors and sensors we didn’t expected. There’s an NFC reader and writer on the right controller. So far, it’s for transferring Miibo character data.
The right controller also hides an infrared (IR) camera that can sense the shape, motion and distance of objects in front of it. Nintendo demoed this with ‘rock, paper, scissors’ hand gestures. But this sounds like the type of neat Nintendo extra that never ends up getting used.
The left controller has a square button for capturing screenshots (and eventually video) of your gameplay. You’ll can then beam these images to social media.
Nintendo’s ‘HD Rumble’ is supposed to be so precise that the new Joy-Con conveys the feeling of ice cubes colliding in a cup when you shake the controller.
You’ll be able to tell if there are one, two or three cubes in the simulated ‘cup,’ according to Nintendo. It’ll even mimic the feeling of water filling the glass with ever-so-slight rumbling.
7. It won’t be region-locked
Nintendo Switch won’t be region-locked. This means that your shiny, new console will be able to play games from other parts of the world without artificial locks in place.
This is great news for anyone who imports games. There have been a number of cases in which Nintendo games were launched months early in Japan or were limited to the Asian market.
Now, with the Nintendo Switch, you’ll be free to play games from anywhere on any Switch system.
8. Nintendo is charging for online multiplayer – eventually
In a moment equal parts exciting, yet baffling and forward-facing, yet vague, Nintendo announced that the Switch will do things a little differently this time around when it comes to online functionality.
The big takeaway is a first for the company as a whole: Paid multiplayer.
Following in the steps of Xbox Live and PlayStation Network, Nintendo will have that allows players on the Switch to take on friends and foes in the likes of Splatoon 2, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, and the like.
Multiplayer isn’t the only perk that goes along with the paid service, as subscribers also gain voice chat and online lobby capabilities, exclusive deals on games, and a download of a classic NES or SNES game that comes with new online features and can be played “for free for a month”. That’s oddly limited wording considering Xbox Live’s Games with Gold feature routinely gives out multiple free games for an unlimited time, no questions asked.
Unfortunately, we’re left with some important questions unanswered, like “how much will it cost? and “does this spell the end of clumsy 12-digit Friend Codes?” However, we at least concede that it’s a step in the right direction that Nintendo is now recognizing that the internet actually exists.
9. Nintendo Switch price
The Nintendo Switch price, at $299, is actually reasonable for a launch console – the same price as the basic (white) Nintendo Wii U console, and $50 cheaper than the Deluxe model.
The Nintendo Switch UK price is going to be £280 on March 3, too. For other parts of Europe and Australia, Nintendo said you should check your local retailer.
10. Comes with everything you see here
Nintendo Switch will come with the console, right and left controllers, a Joy-Con grip to put them together, and wrist straps for when they’re apart.
There’s also a Nintendo Switch dock in the box, an HDMI cable and the USB-C AC adapter. Separately, the Nintendo Switch Pro controller can be bought if you want a more traditional gamepad.
11. Zelda: Breath of the Wild is a launch game
No more holding your breath, Zelda fans. As a nightcap at the end of the Switch reveal festivities, we were blessed with the release date of Nintendo’s eagerly-awaited The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
Teasing the reveal as long as possible with an admittedly gorgeous trailer of Link in action, venturing across a wide open world of fun, peril, and seemingly the first-ever instance of in-game spoken dialogue in a Zelda game, Nintendo finally let us sigh in relief knowing that Breath of the Wild will indeed launch alongside the Nintendo Switch.
For those holding out for one last game on their fading Wii U, Breath of the Wild will also come to Nintendo’s current console at the same time as Switch - March 3, 2017. Better start saving up!
12. Super Mario Odyssey is the game you’ll buy for the holidays
When we saw Mario bouncing around the screen of the Nintendo Switch’s reveal back in October, the obvious gut reaction was, “Whoa, hold on, wait - is that the next Mario game?”
Sure enough, that footage was not some mere placeholder designed to sell the idea of an upcoming Mario game - it actually was an upcoming Mario game!
Mario’s next big game is the logical progression of the portly, platforming plumber, taking from 1989’s Super Mario Land to 1990’s Super Mario World to 2007’s Super Mario Galaxy to 2017’s Super Mario Odyssey - a trip throughout multiple realities set to release this holiday.
Featured in the gameplay reveal was a multitude of new worlds to run, jump, and vault through with various aesthetics and styles, such as a lush forest setting to an urban jungle populated by what seems to be a more realistic, mundane world than that of the fantastical Mushroom Kingdom.
Also, Mario’s trademark red cap seems to have become sentient, having grown a pair of eyes and gained the ability to fly out in place to offer Mario an extra surface to jump from. So, uh, there’s that.
13. Tons of third-party games – finally
Following a weak turnout of third-party support during the Wii U cycle, we wondered if Nintendo would be on their own for churn out software for their shiny new system.
Thankfully, the company wasn’t left alone on stage as industry leaders came out to pledge support for the Switch - to include representatives at Electronic Arts, who infamous began to snub the Wii U after the market started to decline.
Even gaming’s punk rock auteur Suda51 of No More Heroes fame made an appearance to announce a brainchild in the works for Nintendo’s new system, and it looks like SEGA is making some kind of brilliant Puyo Puyo crossover with... ?
From Capcom’s Ultra Street Fighter II to a mysterious project in the Shin Megami Tensei series to a slew of new Dragon Quest games from Square Enix, and it’s clear that Nintendo will be getting a little more support from third-party creators this time ‘round.
Let’s just hope that momentum keeps up after the post-launch honeymoon wears off, okay?
14. Replacing those controllers will cost a pretty penny
Impressive as the Joy-Cons may be, those little detachable suckers are just asking to get lost or damaged after a game of 1-2 Switch gone awry.
Thankfully, Nintendo is offering extra Joy-Cons a la carte or in a pair, meaning you don’t need to drop money on a whole new Switch if one of the controllers goes on the fritz. However, you should still be prepared to pay some serious coin if you do.
Nintendo has priced a single replacement Joy-Con controller at $49.99 a pop (about £40/AU$70), while a complete pair will set you back $79.99 (about £65/AU$105).
Should you opt for a more time-proven control method, Nintendo is also selling the Nintendo Switch Pro Gamepad, which offers all the amenities of a modern gamepad at a fairly steep price point of $69.99 (about £60/AU$90).
Thankfully, both the Joy-Cons bundled with the Switch and the ones sold separately come with a strap, ensuring you don’t chuck one out the window like in the Wii days of old.
15. Nintendo Switch colors
Nintendo Switch won’t just be limited to gray. Nintendo’s presentation broke news about an additional color configuration.
The Joy-Con controllers will come in a neon blue and neon red flavor, while the rest of the console remains black.
Which of the two color options are you going to pick? We're betting the Nintendo Switch with Neon colors will be the hardest to find come launch day.
More Nintendo Switch coverage
Don't rest just yet. We have way more relevant content for you to read, including our all-important Nintendo Switch release date and news hub.
We also break down the Nintendo Switch price for the US, UK and Australia, so you can start saving now – March 3 is coming soon.
Best of all, we have an ongoing Nintendo Switch review, currently in the hands-on phase. Nintendo let us play with its all-new console early, so we already know if it's as good as it's being hyped.